Q: I made sure my children were prepared to go back to school with up to date blue cards. Now, I want to make sure I am doing all I can to live a healthy life. Any advice?
A: We have all been running around, making sure our children are ready to go back to school with new haircuts, new supplies, and new shoes. Amid all the hustle and bustle, we overlook our needs as parents. Receiving and maintaining proper, age-appropriate screenings are crucial to our overall health. While screening recommendations vary by individual, the following are recommended:
• Men and women over 30 years of age should have regular screenings for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
• Women should start yearly mammograms, starting at age 45.
• Physicians recommend screening for cervical cancer with a Papanicolaou test (pap smear) every three years, starting at age 21.
• Testing for colon cancer should start at age 50 for men and women unless you are at a higher risk because you have had a parent or sibling diagnosed with colon cancer.
• Bone density screening (DXA scan), which looks for osteoporosis, should happen every 2-3 years for women 65 years and older
• Hepatitis C screening should occur in all adults born between 1945-1965.
• Annual flu vaccine, other vaccine recommendations vary
Talk with your healthcare provider to find out if you are at risk and to learn about the benefits of testing.
Of course, it is essential to know your family history and lifestyle choices, which play a role in when to start and how often you should receive routine screenings. Talk to your doctor to decide what is best for you. If you do not have a primary care physician, give us a call. We would love to take care of you and your family. Our office is at 13833 Tapia Avenue in Bayou La Batre, and the phone number to access our services is (251) 824-8320. Remember, we all need to stay immunized to prevent communicable diseases, and we can help with that, too. Call today to set up an appointment.
Ashlen Aggen, M.D., is a family medicine physician and a graduate of the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. During her residency, Aggen showed leadership initiative in spearheading the introduction of the Patient Advisory Board on Clinic Policy program and Reach Out and Read, both of which are aimed at providing the best care and opportunities for patients. She was also chosen as the Chief Resident and received the Program Director’s Award, which is given to the graduating resident who exhibits qualities of exemplary patient care, demonstrates leadership, displays a commitment to the community, contributes to scholarly activity and is dedicated to the specialty of family medicine.